Wouldn’t it be nice to be the kind of person who turns heads? Elegant people seem to do that. They float into a room, captivate their audience and glide out with an air of grace. While some people seem like they’re born with it, anyone can become more elegant.
What Is Elegance?
Before we tell you how to be more elegant, let’s discuss the definition. Google’s dictionary defines the term as “the quality of being graceful and stylish in appearance or manner; style.” But elegance isn’t just about fashion. The second definition is “the quality of being pleasingly ingenious and simple; neatness.”
In other words, elegance is a manner that some people have, which makes them seem effortlessly incredible. They look fantastic, they know when to say the right thing, and they act refined.
Elegance isn’t just about your physical appearance, either. Elegant individuals are kind, polite, and intelligent. They don’t usually put their foot in their mouth because they think before they speak.
An implied maturity is inherent in elegance. People who have this quality seem less impulsive or brash than others.
But you don’t have to be stiff and robotic to be elegant. Elegance also involves graciousness and confidence. Whether you have boho allure or are formal and sophisticated, you can be elegant.
How to Look Elegant
We already mentioned that elegance isn’t limited to your appearance. However, that’s a start. The way that you look creates a strong first impression.
Tidiness goes a long way in expressing your sophistication. Start with good hygiene. When you look and smell clean, you’re more magnetic than when you’re unkempt and smelly.
Pay attention to your hands and feet. Dirty fingernails and toenails detract from your look. Take care of the skin on your hands as you would for your face. You don’t have to get regular manicures, but keep your nails neatly trimmed, and clean them often.
Your nails don’t even have to be long. Just make sure that they’re even. If you break a nail and can’t repair it, trim the other ones so that they all look similar.
A certain amount of neatness in your personal upkeep will also help you portray elegance. You don’t have to brush, blow-dry, and style your hair all the time. However, if you always look like you just woke up and your hair is in knots, you won’t exude refinement.
Sleek hair often implies elegance. Look at people such as Audrey Hepburn and Jennifer Garner. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be elegant if you have an afro or beachy waves. There is also a difference between a laid-back hairdo and straggly strands. Trim your hair regularly so that it looks as healthy as possible.
You can also go too far with your appearance. Someone elegant doesn’t go overboard unless the situation calls for it. You can certainly make a statement with your style and be incredibly chic. However, consistently embracing excess can make you seem coarse or gaudy. Elegance is about knowing how to express yourself as simply as possible.
Still, you can keep up a tidy style. Cut strings that hang off of your clothes, avoid wearing torn items and wear outfits that fit you well.
Guidelines for Getting Dressed
Some other guidelines that you can follow when getting dressed include:
- Don’t wear overly casual clothes – You don’t have to dress to the nines to run errands, but sweatpants and elegance don’t exactly go together.
- Avoid looking sloppy – Anything that’s too slouchy or distressed implies a certain level of roughness, which is not typically part of the definition of elegance.
- Don’t wear stained clothing – Stains demonstrate that you’re sloppy and don’t pay much attention to your hygiene.
- Try to look smart but simple – Have you ever seen photos of celebrities looking chic at the grocery store? A substantial collection of high-quality, basic clothing options can help you look like you thought about your outfit without spending too much time on it.
- Avoid overly trendy styles – Some silhouettes veer too far from elegance to be sophisticated. If you stick to timeless classics, you can add pops of expression without derailing your stylishness.
- Wear clothes that fit you properly – Ensure that you fit well into the clothes in your closet. If they’re too small, they can bulge uncomfortably or show inappropriate amounts of skin. Clothes that are too large can hang off of you unattractively. Don’t assume that a specific size will fit you. Try on clothing before you decide to purchase it.
- Choose quality over quantity – High-quality fabrics hold their shape, don’t usually wrinkle as easily, and last longer than shoddy items. Luxurious materials, such as silk and cashmere can make basic items look luxurious.
- Layer with thin materials – You should typically avoid bulky fabrics and shapes. They will undermine a smooth, tailored silhouette.
- Select colors carefully – Some color combinations are more elegant than others. Sharp contrasts and classic tones usually work well. Classic neutrals are always acceptable. White, black, gold, and silver are always chic.
- Don’t match everything – Coordinating your outfit perfectly is no longer in style. It can also make you look like you forced your fashion. You’ll turn heads when you add one unexpected item to your ensemble.
You should choose your outfit based on where you’re going and what you’re doing. Leggings and a sports bra are fine for an outdoor jog, but they’re too casual for a lunch date. On the other hand, don’t wear a glamorous gown to brunch.
How to Accessorize Elegantly
Accessories perk up an outfit. You don’t have to wear them to be sophisticated, but they can punch up your look and pull it all together. A little goes a long way, though. Over-accessorizing can quickly drop you into the tasteless zone.
But you don’t have to choose perfectly matching accessories to stay chic. This is one area in which you can go classic or follow the trends as long as you don’t overdo it.
For example, choose comfortable shoes. Your posture will suffer if you have footwear that rubs your skin or creates blisters. Have you ever seen someone teetering on a pair of sky-high heels? That stride isn’t elegant. Your shoes should allow you to walk with confidence.
However, you should typically reserve sneakers or tennis shoes for workouts and sporting events. Choose well-made shoes. They will fit your feet better than cheap ones, and they won’t scuff, scratch, or crack as readily.
When it comes to jewelry, consider mixing metals. While that used to be a no-no, it has become a style that can make you look more effortless. Like everything that has to do with elegance, put some thought and intention into your metal jewelry. Select one type of metal as the foundation, and add a few pops of other elements.
Statement accessories can instantly transform you. When you choose one bold accessory, you don’t have to worry about matching it with anything else. Plus, you’ll turn heads without trying. Some ideas for statement pieces are scarves, chunky necklaces, and wristwatches.
Pay attention to your sunglasses too. If they’re scratched and peeling, they’ll bring down your panache. Purchase high-quality shades, and keep them in the case when they’re not in use.
If you’re trying to look elegant all the time, you might want to have a signature style. It’s easy to grab pieces of clothing and accessories quickly when they go together well. An easy-to-maintain hairstyle is another hack to elegance. If you can wake up looking like a million bucks, why not go for it?
However, if you’re truly elegant, you could wear a paper bag and get away with it. In the next section, we talk about how your behavior really solidifies your elegance.
How to Act Elegant
Clothes and accessories are only a minimal aspect of your elegance. No matter what you look like, your attitude and actions go a long way toward establishing your grace.
Maintain an Elegant State of Mind
If you believe that you’re elegant, you’ll exude self-assurance and poise. Grace comes from the inside. Therefore, if you imagine your sophistication, you’ll be more likely to put it into the world than if you envision yourself as crude and clumsy.
What if you just don’t feel elegant? Fake it till you make it.
You can do that by being more mindful. If you’re rushing through life like a chicken with its head cut off, you probably don’t give yourself the space to develop elegance. You might react to circumstances impulsively. People who take time to pay attention to their surroundings act instead of reacting.
We are all busy. If you’re overwhelmed by life, you may even try to distract yourself more to cope with the hustle and bustle. But this can lead you to lose sight of your goals, fall off of your path, and behave imprudently.
Elegant people live with intention. You can do the same thing.
When you wake up every morning, ask yourself, “What is my intention for today?” If you’re trying to enhance your elegance, some ideal answers would be:
- Show up for life with enthusiasm
- Be a good listener
- Listen more than I speak
- Be generous and compassionate
- Stay calm and in control
- Believe in myself
Don’t do anything for the sake of appearances. You should behave in a way that aligns with your values and purpose.
Be authentic and live your truth. You don’t have to be the most attractive or popular person. People will be attracted to you when you are genuine.
You might be saying to yourself, “But I don’t know what my purpose is. I don’t really know who I am.” That’s the difference between someone who is elegant and someone who is not. Elegant people have a clear vision of who they are. They hold their heads high because they live in line with their beliefs.
How can you discover your purpose or express who you really are? That’s a complicated subject. However, here are some tips for living your truth:
- Decide who you want to show up as – Every morning, decide who you want to be in the world today. This doesn’t mean that you’ll put on a façade or be fake. It gives you an intention so that you prioritize what is essential at any given moment and behave accordingly.
- Say what you mean – Stop sugarcoating your communication with others. It’s hard to get into the habit of being completely honest because we are often so concerned with pleasing people. Keeping a journal can help you speak your truth more frequently. When you’re honest with yourself, you can be truthful with those around you.
- Look for happiness within – We often seek external validation for our emotions and place in the world. Once you start looking inward, you can stand your ground when it comes to who you are instead of constantly molding yourself to others’ expectations.
- Follow your heart – We often hold ourselves back in life. Although elegant people may appear to be reserved, they simply know how to make the most of what’s important. If you follow your passions, you’ll be able to do the same.
- Work on yourself – Inspiration, confidence, and authenticity don’t always come naturally. At some point in our lives, we get bogged down by what everyone else wants us to be, and we lose ourselves. The most elegant people are authentic because they have explored themselves and decided who they want to be.
- Go with the flow – Resistance isn’t elegant, yet most people block their own grace, beauty, and success. When things aren’t going your way, change something about the way that you’re going. Learning to flow with the punches can prevent you from reacting harshly to inputs from the outside world. Polished people go with the flow.
- Feel it – We’re often taught to put away strong emotions without feeling them. If you’re the kind of person who blows up when things get intense, it could be because you’ve been ignoring your feelings for so long. Elegant people know how to process their emotions and watch them go. Experience life, and keep moving without getting stuck on the dramatic elements.
Know When to Say No
Are you the type of person who says yes to everything? Taking on too much is something that elegant people don’t do.
Part of grace is knowing where your boundaries lie and upholding them. Coco Chanel notoriously said, “Elegance is refusal.” Understanding when to say no is essential for living the life that you want to live.
You don’t want to disappoint people. However, there is nothing more disappointing than lying to yourself. When you say yes when you really mean no, you act from a place of resentment. You cannot uphold your values if you’re not living your truth.
If you have trouble saying no, here are some tips for doing so:
- Ask yourself if you would have to rearrange your schedule. If so, saying yes might not be worth it.
- Are you feeling guilty? Guilt is not a good reason to make a decision. If you feel like you’re saying yes out of obligation, consider changing it to a no.
- Is someone manipulating you? Cut it off now before it becomes a pattern.
- Listen to your intuition. If you have a gut feeling, go with it.
- Think about setting a rule that if you don’t feel a hard yes about something, it’s a no.
When you do say no, don’t overthink it. Go with your gut, be direct, and avoid explaining yourself. No one needs to hear excuses. You have every right to say no just because that’s what you want.
Learn to Laugh at Yourself
A sense of humor is one of the keys to being elegant. You don’t have to guffaw at everything, but you should be able to take things lightheartedly. Doing this involves seeing things in a positive light. It doesn’t mean that everything has to be about sunshine and rainbows, though. There is darkness in the world. It’s fine to accept that.
But don’t let negativity drag you down. Observe it, acknowledge it, and allow it to move through you. If you can do so with a little bit of humor, that’s even better.
Even though an elegant person can laugh at themselves, they aren’t self-deprecating. Show off your strengths, own up to your weaknesses, and move forward. You don’t need to talk about your flaws or complain about yourself. Act like the person you want to be.
Elegant people are interested in the world around them. They’re not oblivious to other people and current events. They notice things, and they pursue what sparks their curiosity. This aspect of their personalities prevents them from being dull.
It also makes them some of the most compassionate people around. When you’re curious, you always have another question to keep the conversation flowing. You genuinely want to learn.
When people tell you their troubles, you have a sincere concern. Because you’re a good listener, you’ve often picked up enough wisdom to help. But you don’t offer unsolicited advice. You hold space for and support your friends and loved ones.
Curiosity also infuses you with culture. An inquisitive individual is a window to the world. These types of people often travel and get to know other environments. In turn, they become more adaptable.
If you’re curious, the whole world opens up to you. Elegant people know this, but they don’t feel the need to flaunt it. They simply live it.
Elegant people know how to stand up for themselves without ruffling feathers. They don’t acquiesce to others, and they maintain their boundaries. But if you’re elegant, you have the perfect words for every situation.
You’re polite, gentle, and well-mannered. You know precisely how to get what you want without manipulating others. And you never piss anyone off.
Individuals with elegance understand human nature. They have a keen sense of self-awareness and attentiveness to others. This makes them respectful and courteous in almost every situation.
If you could stand to be a little more polite, smile when you greet people. Look them in the eyes when you speak to them.
Be the first to greet someone. Doing this shows that you’re assertive and interested in the other person.
When you give criticism, sandwich it with two compliments. A little goes a long way when it comes to being polite. Practice your manners to become more elegant.
We have discussed the fact that elegant people seem to have everything while doing it so simply. Because they’re so resourceful and clever, they don’t need a lot. They can make things work without a lot of fuss.
Their ingenuity allows them to get rid of clutter. Elegant people don’t have messy bags and makeup-ridden bathroom counters. They rely on exactly what they need, and they don’t dilute their lives with extras.
If you want to become more of a minimalist, stop buying things that you don’t need. If you don’t love something and it doesn’t improve your life, let it go.
This Is What Elegant People Don’t Do
Sometimes, it seems as though the world is becoming more vulgar. You can look around at any given time and get examples of what not to do if you would like to be elegant.
Don’t Air Your Dirty Laundry
There isn’t much that’s more cringe-inducing than publicizing the ugly aspects of your life. Things can get messy, even for the most elegant person. It’s ok to be real and show who you are at the core. However, broadcasting your complaints about your ex on social media or talking about your best friend behind his back aren’t the best ways to show your grace.
Don’t Fixate on What Everyone Else Does
Are you always trying to match your behavior to someone else’s expectations? Are you unsure of how to act if no one is around to guide you? Then you might need to practice letting go of other people’s opinions.
An elegant person doesn’t care what other people do. Because they’re confident and have conviction, they feel free to march forward even if they are the only ones who are doing so. However, elegant people usually have a subtle way of demonstrating their leadership. As they stand firm in their beliefs, other people generally join them.
Don’t be afraid of missing out. Create the life that you want no matter what everyone else is doing. Don’t be jealous of other people. You have incredible advantages in your life. Be grateful for them.
Elegant people are amazing. You probably want to be like them if you’re reading this article. But have you noticed that they don’t flaunt their wealth or brag about their strengths?
There is no use in boasting about what you have. Instead of talking about it, use it. Your assets and vigor have gotten you this far in life. Allow them to continue guiding you along your journey.
Bragging about the riches in your life pulls you away from your focus. When you lose your concentration, you fall into the land of wishy-washy inelegance.
Don’t Try to Change Other People
Just as other people can’t mold you, you shouldn’t try to change them. If you are the best version of yourself, you’ll give other people the chance to rise. Everyone has the potential to be an amazing person if they’re not already. Demonstrate that you aren’t afraid to shine your light, and they won’t be afraid to illuminate theirs.
Don’t fall prey to the idea that other people can make you feel a certain way. When you are grounded in your own emotions, you know that you are the only person who has the power to change your life. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect others to be responsible for your feelings or way of being.
Don’t Get Caught Up in the Past
Drama and missed opportunities don’t rile up an elegant person. If you dwell on the past, you run the risk of letting things that happened long ago define you.
Elegant people create their own definitions of themselves. As you go through your life, you learn from your experiences. Take those lessons and allow them to shape the way that you live in the future. Gather wisdom from life’s events and look ahead.
You have places to go, and opportunities are available for the taking. If you’re stuck looking behind you, you’ll never move forward. That’s not very graceful.
Don’t Control Everything
When you have grace, you realize that many situations are beyond your control. Everyone is an individual, and we live in a complex world. You can’t regulate the way that it works.
Worrying isn’t practical or supportive of your purpose. When you try to control things, you can get anxious that things aren’t going your way. Instead of concerning yourself over things over which you have no jurisdiction, place your attention on what you can manage. That’s where you’ll find that effortless power.